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Generators that are operated with sustainably produced, pure plant oil can replace the diesel generators used around the world for grid regulation in central and stand-alone power grids. In the field of off-grid and/or stand-alone grid systems, Dr. Georg Gruber's company Autark 2000 designed and installed the world's first 100% renewable energy hybrid system with the components of photovoltaics, battery unit and plant oil cogenerative units at the German Alpine Association's Coburger Hut in 1993.
The lowlands and central power production concepts are also displaying a trend towards decentralised generating plants with renewable sources. Initiated through discussions about the energy transition in Germany and internationally regarding the reduction of CO2 emissions, markets for hybrid concepts began to emerge where various power generators using renewable energies (wind, photovoltaic, hydropower, biomass, etc.) achieve a supply that is as close to one hundred percent as is possible.
In collaboration with Autark 2000 and Dr. Georg Gruber, VWP is working in the research field of "balancing energy from plant oil operated combustion engines", including necessary research tasks on sustainable plant oil cultivation and decentralised fuel production. Because electricity costs are becoming more affordable with wind and PV plus an equally strong price drop for battery units, the share of necessary balancing energy from combustion engines and hybrid systems becomes increasingly smaller. With decreasing demand for the installed service of plant oil generators, conflicts decline and the task is to make plant oil affordable and available in sufficient quantities.
Adapting these diesel generators required for grid regulation to pure plant oil as fuel, while taking the requirements of dynamic regular operation of a hybrid system into account - this is the challenge. In order to achieve higher degrees of freedom from fuel provision, and especially to attain maximum energy security in remote areas or islands, these plant oil engines are operated with different plant oils, as well as with diesel (Flex-Fuel engine).
For VWP Gruber, this results in the company's purpose of expanding the product portfolio to meet the demand for hybrid systems with modern and high-performing plant oil engines that are directly customised for hybrid application in regular operation, and with multiple possible fuels.